Game Design Certificate and Degree Programs in Dallas, TX

Research game design courses in the Dallas area, which currently has four schools offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three Dallas area schools, all within 35 miles of downtown, and decide which program is right for you.

Dallas-Area Game Design Schools

While there aren't many degree programs specifically in game design in the Dallas area, several schools do offer degree programs that include courses relevant to game design. This article examines three schools that are less than 35 minutes from the city center and looks at their degree programs. There's also information that students may want to know, such as tuition, school size, the availability of financial aid and graduation rates. At the end of the article are facts about another area school with relevant programs.

  • Students who are interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in arts and technology with a games focus may want to enroll at the University of Texas at Dallas, located in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, 12.5 miles from downtown. Master's and doctoral degrees in this field of study are also offered at UT Dallas.
  • Students who would like to opt for a less expensive or less time-consuming option may prefer to enroll at Richland College, a community college that offers an associate's degree in interactive simulation and game technology. Richland College is about 13 miles from downtown Dallas.
  • Collin College, formerly Collin County Community College District, has several campuses in the Dallas area offering students the opportunity to receive economical college instruction through certificate and associate's degree programs in animation and game art. One of its campuses is about 30 miles from downtown Dallas.

Comparison of Schools

When choosing a school, prospective students need a lot of information. The following table makes it simple to access important facts about these three institutions and compare them.

University of Texas at Dallas Richland College Collin College
School Type 4-year; public 2-year; public 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 27,642* 18,794* 31,609*
Campus Setting Midsize city Large city Midsize suburb
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $11,528 in-state; $29,656 out-of-state* $1,770 in-district; $3,330 in-state; $5,220 out-of-state* $1,384 in-district; $2,644 in-state; $4,474 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 74%* 55%* 36%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 76%* N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 88% for full time students* 67% for full time students* 66% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate 69% (17% transfer-out rate) for students who began Fall 2011* 15% (19% transfer-out rate) for students who began Fall 2014* 16% (34% transfer-out rate) for students who began Fall 2014*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

University of Texas at Dallas

Established in 1969, UT Dallas was named one of 100 Best Colleges among public universities and second among best-value schools in Texas from Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine for 2019. The degree programs in arts and technology help students acquire skills and knowledge from a variety of disciplines, including visual arts and computer programming.

Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication with Games Pathway

Students pursuing this bachelor's degree must complete 42 hours of core courses in mathematics, social studies, science and communications in addition to 48 hours of course requirements within the major and 30 hours of electives. Major requirements include courses in computer animation, computer imaging, computer science, game design and digital video production.

Master of Arts in Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication with Game Studies Pathway

Graduates who wish to refine their skills in game design may complete the master's degree program, which requires 36 hours of coursework culminating in an advanced project that will be reviewed by a master's committee. Individuals in this degree program will take three courses in game design and studies and 24 elective hours in courses that may include game production, anatomy of a game, virtual worlds and socially conscious games. An MFA in Arts and Technology with a similar course structure is also available for students wishing to focus on aesthetics and narrative.

Doctor of Philosophy in Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication

This degree program is designed for individuals who wish to teach in this field at the university level. A student will complete nine hours of core courses related to interactive media, including one course on research methodology. He or she must also complete 18 hours in prescribed electives, which may involve advanced projects in topics related to game design, simulation and independent research. After completing these courses and passing a series of doctoral field examinations, a doctoral candidate will then write and defend a dissertation.

Richland College

The degree plan in interactive simulation and game technology at Richland College is designed to give students an affordable introduction to topics in game design that can prepare them for practical application in the professional world or for continued academic study at the university level. Courses taught at Richland College are intended to provide practical skills useful in such industries as biomedical simulation, architecture and aerospace as well as the entertainment industry.

Associate of Applied Science in Interactive Simulation and Game Technology

Students wishing to earn the Associate of Applied Science at Richland College will complete at least 60 hours of coursework. In the first 30 hours of this degree plan, all students complete a core curriculum that includes courses in math, writing and public speaking as well as classes in animation, game design, digital art and 3-D modeling. During the second 30 hours, students will choose to pursue one of two academic tracks: art, animation and design, or programming. All students who graduate from this degree program must earn at least 25% of the credits completed in pursuit of the degree at Richland.

Collin College

Each year, Collin College offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs on its seven campuses. It is the only public community college in the county and enrolls more than 50,000 credit and non-credit students annually.

Certificate Level 1 in Animation and Game Art

The level 1 certificate program requires 42 credits, and students can take courses in computer graphics, storyboard, imaging and animation. Students can choose to participate in a game and simulation group project. Also, they must complete a portfolio.

Associate of Applied Science in Animation and Game Art

The college also offers an associate's degree program in animation requiring 60 credit hours. Students acquire a basic understanding of computer design, applying innovative techniques to video game design, graphic design and other areas of animation. All students complete 11 core courses in the first year, including classes in graphic design, computer graphics, storyboards, 3-D modeling, writing composition and history of animation. In the second year, students take courses in advanced 3-D modeling and basic animation.

In addition, students choose either a 3-D animation or game art track. Students who choose the 3-D animation track take additional courses in digital video. Students participating in the game art track complete a game and simulation group project. All students complete a capstone project on portfolio development.

Certificate Level 3 in Advanced Animation and Game Art Production

Applicants to the level 3 certificate program must complete the AAS in Animation and Game Art first in order to apply. This certificate program requires 12 credit hours of courses in advanced skill development for games and animation, video graphics, visual effects and related electives.

Other School Options

Students in the Dallas area interested in topics related to game design may also be interested in researching North Lake College, located 13 miles away from downtown Dallas in Irving. This 2-year community college offers studies in the related area of digital arts and design. Individuals may earn an associate's degree or certificate.

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